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Chapter 19. First You Need a Modem > Smart Shopping for a Fast Connection - Pg. 177

First You Need a Modem 177 · Fax support--Like fully equipped fax machines, a fax/modem enables you to dial a number and transmit pages of text, graphics, and charts to a conventional fax machine or to another computer that has a fax/modem. You also can use the fax modem to receive incoming faxes and voice calls. Shop carefully. Some fax/modems are able to only send faxes not to receive them. If you want to receive faxes, make sure the fax/modem can handle incoming faxes. Also make sure your modem supports Class 1 and 2 Group III fax machines. Nearly 90 percent of faxes in use today are of the Group III variety. · Voice support--If you plan to have your computer answer the phone and take messages, make sure the modem offers voice support. Without voice support, your modem can answer the phone, but it can only emit annoying screeching noises--which is useful for making telemarketers back off. Some modems also are designed to handle video calls sort of like on The Jetsons. However, if modems are too slow to handle simple file transfers, you can imagine how slow they are to transfer live video images. · Plug-and-play support--Windows supports plug-and-play technology, which allows you to plug a device into your computer without having to worry about the device conflicting with other de- vices on your computer--you just connect the device. When you turn on your computer and Windows starts, Windows detects the device and installs the necessary driver for the device or prompts you to install the driver from the disk that came with the device. If you get a modem that does not support plug-and-play and it conflicts with another device, such as your mouse, you're going to face some complex troubleshooting steps to remedy the situation. Standard modems offer three benefits: The modem itself is inexpensive and easy to install, the modem plugs into a standard phone jack, and online services offer modem connections at bargain rates. However, for speedy Internet connections, consider the options described in the following sections.